Mr 16 was on a break this week but Miss 13 was still working. Unfortunately it was a disrupted week for her. On Tuesday we had to be out of the house for the morning so asbestos testing could be carried out. It appears that when our earthquake repairs were being done asbestos may have been released, thus compromising our health. This was an issue in many of the earlier repairs and, two and a half years later, officials have realised this and are retrospectively checking properties. We opted to go to a cafe and try and get some studying done while the testing was underway. Turns out hot chocolate and a treat go some way towards making maths tolerable!
Wednesday morning we had a bird ramble in the morning (marred by persistent rain sadly) and in the afternoon I was away dropping Mr 16 at camp. Thursday was supposed to be a day full of work. But there was an unexpected car drama so I was out for a lot of the morning sorting that out. Then in the afternoon the opportunity arose for Miss 13 to get together with a friend she hardly ever sees so we grabbed the chance. On Friday morning I was out again on an unavoidable errand. Luckily Miss 13 is very good at working when I'm out and is happy to shift work to the nights or weekends (when she normally doesn't schedule bookwork) if it means she can take advantage of opportunities mid week. So, despite the disruptions she managed to get through nearly all the work she needed to this week.
The big focus for her was the Animal Behaviour MOOC, specifically peer reviewing the writing assignments of three of her course mates. She's never done this before and trying to give a fair and accurate grade according to the grading rubric wasn't as simple as she first thought. There were ten areas to be graded and each had to be given a 0, 1 or 2. The difficulty was feeling that work wasn't good enough for a 2 but only giving it a 1 was too tough. In typical Miss 13 style she wanted to give half marks but that wasn't allowed. The other, bigger, challenge was actually reading the three original scientific papers the writing assignments were based on. Some of them were extremely technical and challenging. But she got all the work done and is now free to focus on the field work observations for the next assignment. This is much more enjoyable work.
Over the weekend we got back to our main observation site and spent an hour observing the Black Swans. We also visited a different area which had a far larger number of Black Swans, and they exhibited very different behaviour from those we've been regularly observing. As a result Miss 13 is starting to formulate some interesting questions which is great, since the field work assignment is due in a week and requires a question based on the observations, a hypothesis and an experiment designed to test that hypothesis. Definitely real challenging science happening as a result of this course!
Meanwhile Mr 16 was experiencing real, challenging learning of a different kind at his Scouting camp. There was lots of hand-on, experiential learning - 6 am runs every morning, designing and helping to prepare a five course meal, public speaking, a surprise midnight tramp, river crossings, plus plenty of more advanced outdoor skills. There were lots of theoretical modules too -including legal rights and obligations, life skills, health, preparing a CV and tackling a job interview, and the electoral system. I understand there were some long days and nights so I think the second week of his break may well be spent catching up on lost sleep!